/1 April 2000
|WCW Saturday Night by E.C. Ostermeyer
Hello, this is the "WCW Saturday Night" recap for Saturday, 1 April 2000, and I'm your recapper, ol' "Extra Cheesy" himself.
We open this week's festivities with a quote from a recent "WCW Live" broadcast.
The speaker is Vince Russo.
His topic is "WCW Saturday Night".
That show needs to be totally revamped.
If I had never seen WCW, and on Saturday night, I am flipping through the channels and come across this show...I would never watch "Nitro" or "Thunder." "If that was a representation of the product, I would never watch "Nitro or "Thunder."
There is no question that this show needs to be revamped.
Made his point rather well, don't you think?
Well, I prefer to let the product speak for itself in this regard, but before that, I'd like to make a few observations.
Long before "Nitro" and "Thunder", (I am talking WAY back when!), "WCW Saturday Night" was THE wrestling venue for Turner's fledgling World Championship Wrestling promotion. For two hours every Saturday evening, we fans got to see some of the best wrestling money could buy. This was at a time when both the WCW and WWF were relying on taped matches as the product to be shown. In some cases, the WWF was using stuff that was a month or more old!
There was NO competition at all for this bunch of hungry young upstarts, and "WCW Saturday Night", along with it's little brother "WCW Worldwide" were pretty much IT as far as wrestling exposure for WCW was concerned.
Then came "WCW Nitro", and suddenly we had live, (or the most recent "live on tape") matches in prime time on Monday night. The show just slaughtered the competition, buying, borrowing, or stealing its top stars from just about every other promotion on the planet. "Nitro' was slick, heavily promoted, and most assuredly deserved the sobriquet "cutting edge."
If you wrestled on "Nitro", even if you JOBBED on "Nitro", you were superstar status. How else do you explain Mike Jones and Ed Leslie?
Predictably, there were sacrifices to be made for "Nitro's" success. The "Main Event" caliber superstars migrated from the "Saturday Night" show to "Nitro". What was left was the, well, "leavings".
There were veterans who were past their prime, or who, for one reason or another, never made the jump to stardom.
Novice wrestlers, learning the "how-to" of putting on a good show for the fans and the TV, increasingly found themselves apprenticing on "WCW Saturday Night".
If a superstar showed up at all, it was usually around PPV time, or to further a particular story line, or to gain additional exposure, or to regain public exposure following an injury.
Not surprisingly, the fans soon began deserting "Saturday Night" for the wildly popular "Nitro" in droves. As the audience disappeared, so did the revenue levels that the show could command, further relegating the show to second-class status.
However, it's a long road that has no turning.
In 1998-99, as the popularity of Nitro waned in the face of a graying superstar cadre, poor plot development, greed, and a fruitless search for the elusive "quick fix" that would put Nitro and WCW back ahead of the WWF colossus, a strange thing happened.
Many of WCW's fans, myself included, rediscovered "WCW Saturday Night."
Word was that Jimmy Hart, one of the truly unsung heroes of WCW, had a hand in revamping the look and "feel" of the "Saturday Night" promotion
There, the story lines were small and uncomplicated when compared to the epic struggles between WCW and the various incarnations of the N.W.O. over on Nitro.
Favorite veterans like Hacksaw Jim Duggan could still be found wrestling on the "Saturday Night" show, even after their departure from Nitro's center ring.
And finally, we die-hard wrestling fans, disgusted with the antics of Nitro's "graying superstar cadre", could now spot the hot new talent on the way UP from the WCW Power Plant, such as Kid Romeo, or IN from the independent circuits, such as the recent appearance of "Shark Boy". We surmise that, secure in this roster of up-and-coming talent, WCW will endure the bad times and emerge, leaner, meaner, and younger, to regain past glories.
In a word, wrestling has become "fun" again.
That is why I tune in week after week, and why I do the recaps, week after week.
Any show can stand improvement, Mr. Russo.
My only request is, use a scalpel instead of a meat-axe when you make your changes to "WCW Saturday Night."
My thanks this week goes to "The Badger" for setting me straight as to who "The Frog" was, and where he was from. I've said it before; assistance like this is ALWAYS welcome, and makes the writing of this little "labor of love" a lot more fun! You fans are my eyes and ears, and I couldn't do it without you.
Again, my thanks to you, Mr. "Badger".
And your fifteen minutes of fame star-r-r-r-t-s......NOW!
We are live on tape from Beaumont, a gem of a town in southeast Texas. Good people in Beaumont. My uncle's from there.
Your hosts are Scott "No snow on the roof means a hot fire inside!" Hudson, and wrasslin's only Living Legend and Great White Shark of the Skins Game, Larry "My necktie's still stuck in the fourth tee's ball-washer" Zybysko.
The big news is the anticipated re-birth of "Creative Control" in the team of Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo, and their return to the helm of WCW.
What I'd like to know is, have these two just "Roebucked" Ed Ferrara off the team, and given him the new WCW Women's Division as a sort of, ummm, "booby prize" to shut him up?
Inquiring minds want to know!
Match #1: Los Fabulosos (without Miss Hancock) d. Tommy Rogers and Jeremy Lopez. (5:10)
Our opening match is a doozy!
Improvements have been made to the "Power Rangers"-style wrestling togs of El Dandy and Silver King. The "King's" looking more like Flash Gordon with oodles more glitter, while El Dandy looks kinda like Goku from "Dragonball Z" if you squint real hard.
Silver King got some stick time, announcing that Los Fabulosos were the most desirable Latin American males in the western spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Hudson was whining about the lack of Miss Hancock, and LarryZ said something about the ideal wife/girlfriend being a "gorgeous deaf-mute", a remark that you'd think would get Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem marching around the announcer's table with bullhorns.
The match was good, with plenty of back-and-forth action, though marred by Scott Hudson continuing to talk about the advent of the "Bischoff/Russo- era", and LarryZ egging him on.
Additionally, Lash LeRoux was at ringside. Fancying himself as a caricaturist, Lash used markers and an easel to do several while the match was in progress. Must think he's back at Jackson Square in 'Awlins.
Los Fabulosos really smeared Jeremy Lopez with a double-team snap suplex, followed by that fore-and-aft mule kick of theirs. While Silver King kept Tommy Rogers busy, El Dandy nailed his awesome "La Majistral" cradle finisher on Lopez for the win. A good match, WAY better than last week's Maestro/Lancaster opening flop.
"Talkin' haids," nummer wun:
Scott and LarryZ reiterated their earlier , more-or-less continuous analysis of the Bischoff-Russo advent on April 10th.
Jeez, you'd think the Earth was going to shift it's magnetic pole as a result!
We come back to see Brian Knobbs in the ring, proclaiming that, as the WCW Hardcore Champion, he was scheduling a "Hardcore Battle Royal" with "Title Belt on a 15 Foot Pole" variant for later in the show. Some stipulations:
1) No wrestling moves allowed
2) Wrestlers can bring any and all the "plunder" they want!
Knobbs then stalks back up the ramp, pausing to go REALLY kayfabe on a couple of school kids at the railing!
The kids, far from being scared, are grinning like possums, just patting Knobbs on the back, touching the Hardcore Title belt and chattering like crazy!
I'd swear Knobbs was cracking a smile as he walked up the ramp.
In the ongoing "Whatcha think?" interviews, it's Mona's turn. Mona knows that Bischoff didn't like women in the ring except as "eye candy."
Russo, on the other hand, was more amenable, so she, Mona, would be seeing more action.
Match #2: Mona d. Little Jeannie (4:49)
Little Jeannie had a costume makeover, and still looks like she handles rub-outs for the Mamalukes.
Hudson made the nebulous comment that when women wrestlers got in the ring, they had "handles" growing out of their heads, to which LarryZ concurred, saying that long hair is a liability in a women's match.
Jeannie was in control for most of the match, and concentrated on crippling Mona's left leg. Best move was a spinning toe-hold, and later a Boston Crab. Mona proved her powerlifting origins (go figure!) by using her leg strength to roll out of the submission hold, and eventually counter with a surfboard/crossbow submission hold for the win.
After the match, Asya came to the ring (Hudson:" Where's SHE been for the last four months?") and helped Jeannie exact revenge on Mona.
So let's see, the WCW Women's Division is Mona (face), Fantasy (face), Little Jeannie (heel), Dee Dee Venturi (heel), and Asya (heel). That leaves Rhonda Singh, Sherri Martell, and Madusa unaccounted for. (If I forgot anybody, please let me know!)
Match #3: Kid Romeo d. Alan Funk (5:49)
This match continues a current plot-line involving an ongoing feud between Power Plant grad Alan Funk and veteran jobber "Bad" Barry Horowitz. A couple of weeks back, Funk smarted off to Horowitz, asking if he'd ever won a match. Horowitz, taking umbrage, vowed to beat Funk that very evening, but lost, not surprisingly. Since then, Horowitz' middle name is "vengeance" where Alan Funk is concerned, and tonight is no exception.
Kid Romeo comes out, and started that "black-out kata with the lightsticks" thingie of his. Funk stopped this by walloping on Kid Romeo before he finished the routine. Funk has also appropriated Scott Armstrong's "leak-proof" wrestling togs.
As the action in the ring continues, Lash LeRoux is out with the markers and easel again, though what he's sketching isn't quite clear.
Think he'd be interested in reviving the old "Bloom County" strip? I miss Bill the Cat!
And "Ack!" is what we get when "Bad" Barry Horowitz arrives at ringside. Funk gets distracted enough by Horowitz' presence for Kid Romeo to nail him with a sloppy "Romeo Relaxer" finisher.
Surprisingly, Funk kicks out, but is seen to be bleeding up near his left hairline.
A brief resurgence by Funk on Kid Romeo gets shortstopped when Horowitz yanks the top rope down, spilling Funk onto the floor. Kid Romeo collected Funk, rolled him back into the ring and quickly got the pin. Yow! Somebody's getting stitches later on.
"Whatcha think?" is posed to XS (aka "Lane and Rave").
Lane said the whole three years he was with WCW, Bischoff never spoke to him once. Rave said he's "still a ham 'n' egger", even though Russo promised him the world.
Hey, in these interviews, just how much do you, dear readers, consider to be "shoot"?
This interview, taken in context with that of The Artist, probably paints a truer picture of what it's like to be a WCW jobber/mid-carder than anything previously allowed for public consumption.
Bif Naked's new rock video from "Ready to Rumble" is shown.
Is there some major industry push going for David Arquette-Cox that says his visage must be on every channel at least 24 hours a day?
Match #4: Lash LeRoux d. Frankie "The Thumper" Lancaster (5:18)
Hudson and LarryZ discuss the merits of the Jackson Square caricaturists. LarryZ said he'd had one done that he wasn't pleased with, so he punched the guy out.
Hudson asked if the portrait looked like Bruno (Sammartino)?
A long silence ensues...
... broken by Hudson hollering "Don't punch ME!"
LarryZ: "You know, if only takes fifteen pounds to crack a knee..."
Hudson: "Who says so?"
Anyhoo, back to the action.
Frankie Lancaster and Lash LeRoux put on a surprisingly good show. LeRoux has been known to be erratic of late: when he's on his game, like tonight, there's few that can match him. Lancaster does a good job as the nasty veteran heel, alternately mocking LeRoux and sneering at the crowd.
Lash gets his chance late in the match, when a Whiplash finisher doesn't bring the pin. No problem, Lash just sets up and nails his new "Whiplash 2000" finisher on Lancaster for the win.
Sign in the crowd: "Hogan's Love Child" with the arrow pointing down.
Not something I'd want to be generally known. Much less carry a sign in public.
Match #5: Hugh Morrus d. Steve Armstrong (4:27)
Morrus is looking even more imposing every time he climbs into the ring. Armstrong's got a "Buzzkill" tie-dye shirt on.
Hudson and LarryZ continue their discussion of the Bischoff/Russo era. LarryZ says that Bischoff has the patience to schmooze with the superstars and their egos, while Russo works better with the younger wrestlers, dangling carrots and making them jump through hoops in their quest for stardom. Talk turns to Hugh Morrus as a wrestler, who, despite his size, has great strength and agility. Hudson compares Morrus to Mona, and almost loses his trainof thought, but larryZ gets him back on track.
The match is a good, albeit not spectacular one.
Armstrong has some initial offense growing from a back body drop and a failed pin attempt. Morrus, recovering, floors Armstrong with a Big Right Hand. He then proceeds to do that "laughing jig" routine, finishing with an elbow drop to the sternum twice, and a headbutt to the sternum once.
Morrus shows off his agility when he wins the match with the "No Laughing Matter" moonsault. Interestingly, Morrus rolls Armstrong's carcass on top of himself halfway through the pin count, nearly gets pinned himself, then rolls back for the win.
Match #6: Three Count d. Shark Boy, Frank Paris and Elix Skipper. (3:57)
Three Count come out sans "Green Circles of Doom." LarryZ says that the Jung Dragons have them, and are probably doing katas with them.
No matter, as Three Count, after Evan Karagias' "Ladies, what you see is what you get; what you don't see (all three look crotchwards) is better yet!"
Skipper, Paris and Shark Boy come out, and the match is underway immediately. Shark Boy gets decked by Evan Karagias, but counters with the Shark Bite! Karagias tags Shannon Moore in, and Moore gets bitten as well. Helms, still wearing the schnozz protector, waffles Shark Boy from behind. This brings Elix Skipper and Frank Paris into the ring, and we've got a free-for-all for about thirty seconds, with Moore and Karagias going out of the ring to the ramp. Skipper and Paris do a dual pescado over the top rope that literally floors Karagias and Moore.
Meanwhile, Shark Boy's got Helm's in the corner for the "Ten-Count Punch-Down" with the crowd calling the shots. Up until ten, when Shark Boy decides to do some "Mega-Biting" on Helm's forehead!
Out of the corner, Helms counters with a back body slam. Shark Boy tags Elix Skipper, who does what I call his "bottle opener" back-of-the-knee to the back of the neck move on Helms, flooring him. Skipper then does a "pendulum" leg-drop on Helms, goes for the cover, but Helms kicks out. Skipper tags in Frank Paris, who gets into a brawl with Evan Karagias. This gets all six men into the ring, only to see Elix Skipper and Shark Boy tossed out of the ring moments later. Frank Paris puts up a valiant defense, but it's three-on-one, and he gets triple-teamed into a massive face-first body slam by Three Count. Karagias gets the pin for the win.
Talking Heads, number two:
A review of last Monday Nitro's "Spring Break Out" from South Padre Island, TX.
Kimberly (YOWZA!) introduces her hubby, a (supposedly healing) Diamond Dallas Page.
DDP plugs his supporting role in the upcoming movie, "Ready to Rumble", and says the premiere is at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood April 5th.
His comments bring out Jeff Jarrett, who uses terms like "slapnuts", and "Chosen One."
Egos are aired, and Jarrett says he's gonna crash DDP's little bash out there.
Match #7: Chuck Palumbo d. "Wildcat" Chris Harris (5:32).
Good catch-as-can wrestling from these two Power Plant grads, with Palumbo taking control early on. An early big move was a diving cross-body by Palumbo from the top turnbuckle that got a near pin.
Meanwhile, Lash LeRoux was back out with his caricatures, this time doing one of Mancow, the Chicago deejay, and Jimmy Hart, with the caption, "An Eye for an Eye!" Hey, you know, LeRoux's pretty good!
Harris tried to slow the match down, working on Palumbo's legs, then locking on a rear chinlock. Harris was taunting the crowd, "Whatcha think of "Tarzan" now?"
Escaping from the hold, Palumbo nailed Harris in the head with his "Jungle Kick", and then a long-range diving shoulder block caught Harris in the middle of the back, driving him into the corner really hard. Palumbo hooked the far leg, 1,2,3!
"Whatcha think?" segment, this time with Hugh Morrus, who looks like a disturbed Shane Douglas. (a subtle dig at the out-going Kevin Sullivan there, Hugh?)
"I always said, Eric and Vince were working together."
Match #8: Hail (with Jimmy Hart) d. Cassidy Riley (1:03)
"Hail Warning!" graphic scoots across the screen as Hail and Jimmy Hart make their entrance.
Aw c'mon, guys, give this goof a real opponent for once, okay?
Stuff piledriver, with gurney chaser.
Lots of ice.
Hey, wasn't Riley in that bunch where TAFKAPI chose Mike Modest back on the last "Nitro?"
"Whatcha think?" collars Chuck Palumbo, who hopes that the rumors of Bischoff/Russo giving more exposure to new talent are true, but he's just glad to have a job.
How honest can you get?!
Match #9: The Mamalukes (er, "da Paisans") d. Kory Williams and Ashley Hudson (4:52)
Big Vito corners announcer Keith Butler, and tells him to cut the "Mamalukes" stuff! From now on, they are "da Paisans", and gets Butler to announce them as such.
Scott Huson says that their former manager, Disco Inferno, named them the "Mamalukes", a term apparently derogatory in nature.
The match, such as it is, has Ashley Hudson ("No relation!" says Scott Hudson) basically getting clobbered by Big Vito and Johnny the Bull.
LarryZ is having a great time, saying "Ooooo, Hudson got THAT one right in the chops!" and "Looks like it's ALL OVER for Hudson!" to Scott Hudson's obvious discomfiture.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" says Scott.
"Hey, I can dream, can't I ?", says Larry.
Big "Bensonhurst Body Drop", followed by a moonsault from Johnny the Bull almost puts Ashley Hudson away, but he does make the tag to Kory Williams. Williams manages a brief flurry before getting powerbombed by Big Vito.
Implant DDT, have a seat Mr. Williams.
Can you say "squash casserole?"
Match #10: Brian Knobbs d. Adrian Byrd, Dave Burkhead, The Dog, Rick Fuller, and "Screamin'" Norman Smiley (WCW Hardcore Title Defense. Battle Royal rules, excepting over-the-top-rope. Hardcore moves and weapons only, Title-belt-on-a-pole as stipulated by the champion. Whew!) (5:41)
Knobbs comes to the ring with the laundry bin o' plunder from "Knobbs-Mart", as LarryZ says.
Knobbs tosses the contents (trash can, several trash can lids, a paint roller tray, the ubiquitous steel chair) into the ring, but leaves the ladder in the bin.
The rest of the opponents come out, each sporting their own plunder.
Byrd's got trash can lid "cymbals", Burkhead's got a steel chair, Fuller stalks to the ring spinning a trash can like it was a toy.
Norman Smiley's got on a red football jersey that says "Hawks", and is carrying a Singapore Cane.
Al "The Dog" Green comes out last, weaponless, with referee Billy Silverman tailing onto the steel dog chain. The Dog stops short, and Silverman runs into him, provoking a near attack on himself by the enraged Dog. We're still watching Silverman trying frantically to unhook the chain as the, ummm, "match", gets underway.
Well, it goes like this: everybody takes their favorite weapon and they all gang up on Brian Knobbs for the first minute or two. Knobbs gets really hammered, but gets a breather when the others start clobbering one another. Everybody makes a grab for the belt, Rick Fuller getting crotched on the top turnbuckle by Dave Burkhead while making his grab.
Knobbs eventually brings the ladder in the ring, only to eat a big piece of it when The Dog whips him face first into it. The Dog then proceeds to BITE on Knobb's ear, until Silverman pushes him off.
Billy Silverman spends most of the match trying to stay out of the way, and finally retires to the outside for his own safety.
Norman Smiley golottas Fuller with the Singapore cane, then garrotes Knobbs with it. Smiley does the big wiggle on Knobbs, then goes for the belt, only to have Burkhead knock him off the turnbuckle.
Knobbs has had enough, grabs the ladder and starts to clean house. A last attempt by Norman Smiley to grab the belt gets shortstopped by Knobbs, who uses the ladder to climb past the turnbuckle and grab the Hardcore Championship Title belt for the win.
Scott Hudson put it best when he said that this was the last match of the old WCW.
Fittingly, or perhaps, prophetically, it had nothing whatever to do with wrestling.
Good show, with very few "Talking Heads" segments. The "Whatcha think?" segments were very interesting, almost poignant in the case of XS and Chuck Palumbo. Lash LeRoux has a day job waiting for him should he decide on a "strategic career move."
Ten matches, with a total of 46 minutes and 58 seconds of actual in-ring action.
I do this as a benchmark, since this is the best use of this two-hour time slot that I've seen in a long time. It's a good target for the new show to aim at.
Best match was the Three Count - Shark Boy/ Skipper/ Paris match. Worst was the Hail - Riley Squash-o-rama.
I will be interested to see what happens next week, as "WCW Saturday Night" will be the only non-retrospective show produced by WCW that week.
In the meantime, all we can do is watch and wait, my friends.
It's out of our hands now....
See you next week.
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